What is this thing called 9Stucks?
9Stucks is a dynamic business diagnostic tool. It identifies nine distinct yet interrelated business challenges that cause a company to underperform.

“MetalCo” (Privately-Held Industrial Manufacturer)

The Diagnosis

Quick Facts:

  • Industry: Manufactured Products – Industrial
  • $45 million manufacturer of industrial components
  • 2 plants, 2 divisions
  • privately held, one shareholder
  • The Stucks (6): DitchMomentSlow LaneRutFogRough

What I Heard From the Leadership Team:

  • shareholders and management decided they needed an independent evaluation/due diligence of the “state of the company”
  • essential to re-establish acceptable levels of profitability
  • leadership wanted to understand “who are we (as a company) and where do we need to go”

What I Found After Digging In:

A number of stress points were negatively impacting the company’s performance:

  • foreign competition (from China) had become stronger
  • structural changes in traditional industry market segments shifted demand
  • multiple branded product lines sold through four channels – direct sales, industrial distributors, manufacturers representatives and industrial catalogs.  These channels each had specific, unique requirements adding to the increased complexity of the business

DITCH

  1. there was no “common view” about the future direction of the business among the shareholders and management

MOMENT

  1. company produced an annual budget, but no strategic plan
  2. there were some ‘sacred cows': key people in wrong roles, rigid organizational structure
  3. in addition to no strategic plan, there was no annual operational plan

SLOW LANE

  1. Overall management team was lacking key skills in important areas
  2. CEO had 12 direct reports
  3. Communication needed improvement throughout the company
  4. Incentive systems only set up for a few employees, not formalized
  5. accountability for milestones and assigned tasks not firmly set

RUT

  1. traditional and historical marketing and sales methods had lost some effectiveness in the internet age
  2. the company’s established distribution channels were quickly changing
  3. Multiple branded product lines sold through four channels – direct sales, industrial distributors, manufacturers representatives and industrial catalogs

FOG

  1. mature business segments were constraining resources needed for new and emerging business segments
  2. market segment/penetration data was not accurate; hard to determine pockets of strengths and industry/geographical areas of weakness
  1. cumbersome customer processes that did not meet new customer expectations
  2. Dated IT systems
  3. Dated engineering systems
  4. Multiple geographical locations created issues with communication, manufacturing processes